MX23RW : Monday, June 14 07:09:58| >> :600:233289:233289:
Feb 7, 2021 at 7.45pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
LazioLazio
1-0
CagliariCagliari
Immobile (61')
Correa (69'), Inzaghi (87'), Parolo (87')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Nandez (31'), Pedro (82')

Preview: Lazio vs. Cagliari - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Serie A clash between Lazio and Cagliari, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Currently topping the Serie A form table, rejuvenated Lazio welcome a Cagliari side enduring entirely opposite fortunes to Stadio Olimpico on Sunday evening.

In the final game of the 21st round, Simone Inzaghi's confident outfit approach kickoff with five straight victories in the rear-view mirror, while the visitors have failed to win in 13 games.


Match preview

Lazio players celebrate Ciro Immobile's goal against Borussia Dortmund in October 2020© Reuters

Another strong Lazio performance last weekend suggests that talk of the Biancocelesti being back to their pre-lockdown best is not far off the mark, as they gained a measure of revenge against an Atalanta side that had knocked them out of the Coppa Italia just days before.

Now able to take advantage of all the considerable weaponry at their disposal - with Joaquin Correa being the latest squad member to recapture his previous form - Simone Inzaghi's men are finally finding some continuity.

Their improvement since the turn of the year was no doubt catalysed by a storming Derby della Capitale success last month and reached at least its first peak with their excellent win in Bergamo.

In January of last year, Lazio were able to complete a streak of 11 straight victories and while such heights may be unobtainable given the relentless fixture-packed nature of this unique campaign, there are several signs that they can push on from their current spot just outside the top four.

The capital club have now scored in 16 consecutive league games - the best run in Italy and fourth-best in Europe's top five leagues - as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Manuel Lazzari and Luis Alberto (remarkably recovered from recent appendix surgery) have all risen to meet the imperious standards set by last season's Capocannoniere, Ciro Immobile.

Immobile has been typically irreplaceable for Lazio this term - top-scoring with 13 goals, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo and Romelu Lukaku in the Serie A charts - with six of those strikes being the potentially decisive first of the match. The clinical Azzurri striker has scored nine times against Cagliari in the past - only against Genoa (10) and Sampdoria (12) has he netted more.

To serve as further encouragement, if it were needed, the Aquile have dominated the Sardinian side in recent years, going unbeaten in the clubs' last 13 league clashes. Ever-demanding coach Inzaghi will ensure that his charges are fully tuned into the task of adding to that tally, with the distraction of upcoming meetings with Inter Milan and Bayern Munich on the near horizon.

Cagliari manager Eusebio Di Francesco pictured in December 2020© Reuters

Bringing to a halt a run of seven successive defeats in all competitions, Cagliari drew 1-1 against Sassuolo at Sardegna Arena in their last Serie A outing. Nevertheless, that hard-earned point will have felt like bitter reward for hanging on despite having just 29% of possession, only to concede a stoppage-time equaliser to the Emilian side.

That result extended their barren period to 13 games, in which they have drawn five and lost eight - the Isolani's longest winless spell since 2010, when they went 15 without victory. Heading to the formidable surrounds of the fortress Olimpico on Sunday, Eusebio Di Francesco's side have failed to win away since October, against fellow strugglers Torino.

Such a miserable moment in their recent history leaves them in 18th place in the table, on just 15 points, but certainly not adrift of safety.

As Giovanni Simeone's slump continues to grow into a goalscoring depression, Cagliari's most prolific player to date has been Joao Pedro, who has scored 11 times to sit surprisingly high in the Capocannoniere standings. The Brazilian struck the opener against Sassuolo and represents Cagliari's chief hope of extracting something from a teak-tough assignment this weekend.

When the Isolani last met Lazio in Serie A action last September, the Roman side won 2-0 in Sardinia, leaving Di Francesco's team still searching for their first league win over the capital club since May 2013. Achieving such a feat this time around would truly be a triumph against all odds.

Lazio Serie A form: DWWWWW
Lazio form (all competitions): WWWWLW

Cagliari Serie A form: LLLLLD
Cagliari form (all competitions): LLLLLD


Team News

Lazio head coach Simone Inzaghi pictured on January 15, 2021© Reuters

Simone Inzaghi will be without defensive duo Patric, who is suspended, and Luiz Felipe (ankle injury), while previous first-choice goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha is still suffering with a knee problem and both Danilo Cataldi and Felipe Caicedo are unlikely to recover in time either.

New signing Mateo Musacchio should therefore be drafted straight into the Lazio back three, alongside Wesley Hoedt and Francesco Acerbi, with Pepe Reina continuing to deputise for Strakosha.

Though Vedat Muriqi has impacted the scoresheet given recent opportunities, it is expected that Inzaghi will still team Joaquin Correa with Ciro Immobile up front.

Cagliari's new recruit Alfred Duncan sat out their last game due to a thigh pull and is doubtful for the trip to Rome, while Alessandro Deiola - recently returned from a loan to Spezia - turned his ankle and will miss out.

Both Riccardo Sottil and Luca Ceppitelli have also picked up knocks and have been ruled out too. Defender Ragnar Klavan and winger Zito Luvumbo have yet to return to full training and are set to be unavailable for at least another week.

Daniele Rugani should come in for Ceppitelli, with Radja Nainggolan expected to return in place of Deiola, as new boy Kwadwo Asamoah settles for a spot on the bench.

Lazio possible starting lineup:
Reina; Musacchio, Hoedt, Acerbi; Lazzari, Milinkovic-Savic, Leiva, Alberto, Marusic; Correa, Immobile

Cagliari possible starting lineup:
Cragno; Zappa, Godin, Rugani, Lykogiannis; Marin, Nainggolan, Nandez; Pereiro, Pedro; Simeone


SM words green background

We say: Lazio 2-0 Cagliari

This game would appear the very definition of 'home banker' on paper and should not play out too differently on grass.

Lazio have finally got the band back together heading into a challenging phase of the season at home and abroad, so should make light work of unfortunate Cagliari on Sunday, with the Sardinian side more likely to get their campaign back on track in upcoming ties with Torino, Crotone and Bologna than at Stadio Olimpico.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CInter Milan38287389355491
2AC Milan38247774413379
3Atalanta BCAtalanta38239690474378
4Juventus38239677383978
5Napoli38245986414577
6Lazio38215126155668
7Roma381881268581062
8SassuoloSassuolo381711106456862
9Sampdoria38157165254-252
10Hellas VeronaHellas Verona381112154648-245
11Genoa381012164758-1142
12Bologna381011175165-1441
13Fiorentina38913164759-1240
14Udinese381010184258-1640
15SpeziaSpezia38912175272-2039
16CagliariCagliari38910194359-1637
17Torino38716155069-1937
RBeneventoBenevento38712194075-3533
RCrotone3865274592-4723
RParma38311243983-4420

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